Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Remind Me Who I Am, Again by Linda Grant 1998

[T]he other ... marvelously powerful story ... distinct from but connected to the story of Rose Grant's dementia . . . is the story of second-generation Anglo-Jewry, the generation whose parents were immigrants from Russia, Poland, or Romania, the ones who had to bridge the divide between the old life and the new." From a review by Rebecca Abrams in Independent on Sunday

In this wonderful memoir Linda Grant writes about coping with her mother’s progressive deterioration due to dementia. But in the process of telling that story, the author devotes considerable space to the lives of her parents, telling the stories of their each growing up with Jewish immigrant parents and many siblings in Liverpool, England. Her father became a successful salesman of wholesale beauty products and she places his success and the financial standing of the family in the context of a Jewish family close to their immigrant roots trying to find their place in the larger world.

This memoir, written by a British writer who is a successful journalist and novelist with a mordant sense of humor, moves from Liverpool, to Bournemouth, to Oxford and to London where she and her sister eventually place her mother  in a home run by Jewish Care. This memoir is interesting because of its Anglo-Jewish focus as well as its focus on a daughter's relationship with her aging mother.

Grant has included family photos.

 For an interesting interview with Linda Grant in which she talks in some detail about her Anglo-Jewish background click here. To read a list of the top ten Jewish books Linda Grant recommends click here.

Author’s father’s side of the family
Ginsberg – father’s family, probably not original name in Poland; changed to Grant - not sure when
Morris Ginsburg; author’s great-grandfather; married Rachel Berman
    Wolfe Ginsburg – son of Morris and Rachel; married Janey Walman
        Louis Ginsburg - son of Wolfe and Janey; married Dinah Rosenberg
            Sefton Ginsburg – son of Louis and Dinah; married Anne
        Israel (Issy, Lesley) Ginsberg – son of Wolfe and Janey; married Mollie
            Elka and Sonia  Ginsberg – daughters of Israel and Mollie
            David Ginsberg – son of Israel and Mollie
        Benny (Ginsberg) Grant –  son of Wolfe and Janey; married Bessie Cohen; married Rose Haft 
            Sonia Grant - daughter of Benny and Bessie
            Linda Grant - daughter of Benny and Rose; author
            Michele Grant - daughter of Benny and Rose
        Gertrude Ginsberg - daughter of Wolfe and Janey
            Joy Pond –  daughter of Gertrude
        Tillie Ginsberg Taylor - daughter of Wolfe and Janey
            Shaina Taylor – daughter of Tillie
        Gilday (Ralph) - son of Wolfe and Janey

        Saul Rosenberg – Louis’ wife Dinah’s brother
        Kirwans and Axelrods - cousins

Author’s mother’s side of the family
Haft – mother’s family from Kiev; but not Haft in Ukraine
Leah (Linda) – author’s maternal grandmother
    Abe Haft – son of Leah; 1st wife died; 2nd wife Betty
        Marina Haft Moss – daughter of Abe
            Jonathan Moss – son of Marina; married to Lynne
        Stewart Haft – son of Abe by 2nd wife
        Lorna Haft – daughter of Abe by 2nd wife
    Miriam Haft – daughter of Leah; later known as Milly
    Gertie Haft  – daughter of Leah
        Martin – son of Gertie
    Lillian Haft - daughter of Leah
    Herschel (Harry) Haft - son of Leah
    Morris Haft - son of Leah
    Rose Haft – daughter of Leah; author’s mother; married Benny Grant
        Linda Grant - author
        Michele Grant – author’s sister

Friends and Acquaintances
Francis Abelson – known as Frankie Vaughan


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